Internet & Society > Internet & Society Conference
This December, the Berkman Center and some friends are hosting the next in our series of Internet & Society conferences. A placeholder site is here:
This year, we're taking a skeptical look at whether the Internet is transforming politics. We're interested in global themes, in campaigns of all sorts and all levels, and not just the US presidential election.
We'd love your help in pulling together the panels and discussions. What would be most helpful at this stage is to come up with the hardest, most interesting questions that might serve as the organizing principle for a specific panel or discussion session on the primary day of the conference, December 10, 2004. An example might be: 'Are campaigns more effective at engaging young people in campaigns by using Internet technologies?' Give us a better one.There are more questions (1): Expand All
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All evolving technologies result in media convergence and impact the cultural landscape. Has a global communication network had a positive or negative impact on political culture? What are the most significant effects of a global communication network on political cultures?
Perhaps the real issue is not apathy but a belief that government is irrelevant to everyday individual life. Does the Internet connect us more to each other as individuals obviating the role of government in public perception even further?
The Howard Dean campaign provides evidence that suggests that volunteer engagement through network technology does not yet have a major impact on campaign effectiveness.
We've seen for many years, the political campaigns come to us from television and newspaper. Reported by the few to disseminate to the masses. Newscasts, broadcasters, reporters, etc. have been able to "spin" or select an angle in an article to expand on an issue, or even create one. We have seen dishonesty and if you will, plagarism and fraud from these sources even more recently - e.g. NY Times and CBS News. Reporters and news agencies spinning their agenda either knowingly or unknowingly.
This brings us to technology in the heart of the political campaign season. Now we have websites, blogs, e-mail newsletters, user groups, and even in some states - development of voting online. The internet age individuals have developed into voters. The knowledge generation "seeks" the truth, beyond what is presented to them on television and in the newspapers. True Americans speak their minds freely on the internet, become more politically enchanted, and passivists become activists - because we of the internet age have a voice and an audience now! No longer do we need the microphone at a political event, we can discuss what we truly feel without having our views challenged or manipulated. WE get the stage of reasoning by having ample time to type in our thoughts as I do here and without interruptions! IF we don't think that technology has changed political campaings, I have fours words - Howard Dean and Dan Rather! Since everyone (almost)is connected, no longer can politicans make up history or their resume because information is at everyone's finger tips. Campaigns must be true now or the politicians will lose.
I think that we need to cast our thoughts to 2020 - using the modality of interdisciplinarity - what will we make of the "Code is Law" thesis?
It was cute, refreshing and a welcome departure...but what is the Afterworld of Code?
Has the Internet actually served to open minds on political issues or does it simply encourage tunnel vision by allowing like-minded voters to collaborate in larger groups and reinforce pre-existing opinions?
There have been loads of innovative approaches to the Internet as a space for political discourse, but why end so many of them in a "clash of digitalizations"? Just take "virtual-party-units", take "virtual conventions" or even "online-voting" (and of course: "vote-swapping") - there always has been at least minor, often major resistance against political innovations through online communication. By neglecting online discussion or not connecting deliberative efforts to the offline political process, incumbents and other stakeholders hinder the development of political innovations via the Internet.
"Vote-Swapping" during the 2000 (and 2004) elections might be conceptualized as a citizen-driven re-modeling of given electoral structures - contrasting "Gerrymandering" as the established mode of manipulating voting results, vote-swapping reconfigures the electorate from the other end of the spectrum. And is considered to be illegal - at least in some places...
Probably "blogger demographics" just donīt show the necessary (and desirable) diversity yet - so this might be some kind of normal distribution within an early phase of blogging as tool for political communication. The point, that less represented group may use blogging as a suitable vehicle to transport their ideas sounds striking - but the structure of blog networks as a referencing machine could be an obstacle for peripheral blogs. Maybe network theory (such as the work of Albert-Laszo Barabasi on "Scale-free Networks" could be helpful here.
Technological determinism seems to be one of the issues underlying the question of the Internet's impact on soceity and culture. To what extent does our technology affect how we act and the decisions that we make? So it might be interesting to ask this question in the context of politics and the Internet. Does the available technology (i.e., what we can do, at present, with web sites, networking security, etc.) influence the actual nature of the politics being practiced? Or for a more specific version of the question, does the nature of the technology influence the way one would think about managing a campaign? To get even more specific, does Internet technology promote a type of deliberative democracy, as opposed to some kind of majoritarian democracy? By providing information related to campaign/candidate issues, does one promote deliberation, or hinder it by providing biased accounts of the issues (like we tend to see with campaign advertising)? Does the nature of Internet technology actually promote one possibility over the other ("deliberation vs. spin" I suppose)?
Hope this helps,
Deliberation is a fundamental part of the process of politics and voting. It seems to be the de facto criterion for deciding on the "quality" of votes cast: we don't want votes cast randomly or on a whim. We want voters to choose candidtates or vote for referenda in a way that reflects their own considered moral judgments (to borrow a phrase) and their own desires for effective policy.
Claude's examples represent some of the different ways in which the Internet facilitates deliberation, but they also point out what seems to be a necessary difficulty, and that is that the quality of information and deliberation offered will vary from source to source. So it seems that the underlying question is one of whether the Internet will promote or preclude any particular sort of deliberation, and if so, how, and is this acceptable?
So my suggestion is: the issue could be (effectively) discussed in the context of the role of deliberation in democracy, primarily because it is the importance of deliberation and our right to deliberate that drives this as a moral concern.
By bringing up the issue of technological determinism, I didn't mean to demonstrate any sort of bias (not that biases are normally intentional...), but instead I just wanted to raise the question of, to what extent the technology influences either (or both) our attitudes towards politics or how we practice it. So the question is to what extent, if at all, does technology influence the practice of politics.
The internet has given strength and voice to grassroot information and politics. This can be very positive when these are well managed, by competent people, but then, grassroot ideals are against any controlling hierarchy, even against a hierarchy based on competence.
There is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page , where peer-review of info means review by anyone, not by a committee of reciprocally appointed peers considering themselves as experts. Wikipedia works miraculously - but is it perhaps the exception that confirms the rule?
Then there is Lawrence Lessig using www.petitiononline.com to launch the campaign for the preservation of the public domain, through which many people also came to know the Creative Commons project. But for http://www.petitiononline.com/eldred/petition.html , how many trivial, absurd, cocked-up or, worse, hateful other petititons?
Perhaps it doesn't matter, perhaps what counts is the positive aspect of grassroot campaigning and info that the internet has made possible. But perhaps people maintaining that are precisely those advantaged by a training, an education that enables them to sort out what is what on the internet?
How are schools training new generations to do the same? Is media analysis part of the basic syllabus? If yes, how is it taught. Do schools practice discussion/campaigning/consultation using the internet? If yes, how? With what evaluation?
Maybe people will go for "colorful" reading, for scandal-mongering because - oh well, it can be more fun. But if they have more opportunities for debating and discussing, they won't take this kind of texts at face value. They can already make a difference between performance in a TV debate, and the actual quality of candidates. Maybe being used to participating in more debates through the internet helps in that?
Your question is certainly crucial: it is not enough that young people start voting because of their access to ICT, the issue is that they should stay involved in civic life. But aren't their other factors, not ICT related, very much involved in this?
Disenchantment with a heavy political system that perpetuates itself out of inertia, for instance?
Sure, the use of ICT may sharpen the impatience of young people towards this inertia, by contrast. But it is probably a recurrent factor.
At least now, basic information on the structure of civic decision is easily available. It was not when I came of age, 35 years ago. Many of my generation got very disenchanted with politics after a brief period of intese involvement, in part out of ignorance of the workings of the system.
The present youth might also become disenchanted out of this knowledge, though...
Chuck, you wrote:
"So it seems that the underlying question is one of whether the Internet will promote or preclude any particular sort of deliberation, and if so, how, and is this acceptable?"
The "how" is fundamental, thanks for adding it. There is the risk of control by the state, and the more insidious forms of warping by commercial providers of "free" (non-paying) forums (Yahoo, MSN, for instance).
In that, the "free as in freedom" software movement - and H2O for instance - play a very important civic role. Unfortunately, all too often, people and organisation involved in the defence of civic and human rights tend to brush the issue aside as "stuff for geeks".
I did too, when I first got on the internet. It took me a couple of years to underestand it wasn't so. I am still abysmally ignorant of tech. I wouldn't know where to start with the source code of this platform. But I've realised that the fact this code is available is most important.
Maybe conveying this to civic and human rights activists isn't a problem in the US, where tech culture is more advanced and more widespread. In Europe, it is.
Internet technologies might be accessible for all of us, but that means nothing if people are not interested in what is going on around, not only nationally but internationally. People should be aware that as long as they realize the utmost importance that governments should be accountable to them, nothing will change. Perhaps IT also may help to this by ensuring governmental information disclosure, enhancing transparency. Hence, one should first attack the illness itself: apathy.
Polititians should be aware that we are more able to "watch" them (perhaps not that much like Big Brother), so there are more opportunitites to ask for accountability. To me, the issue here is how much people are willing to monitor polititians and how much access they have to new technologies which may ease accountability process.
Thinking about the problem, it feels as if there are some broad areas that need to be discussed -
1. Does the internet change the content of political campaigns, the speeches etc?
2. Does it increase access for those who want to be politicians?
3. Does it increase the number of people voting?
4. Does it allow more voices to be heard in decision making?
Many questions under each heading , a few more wordy versions of these follow ...
Has the content of political discourse changed in any significant way since the advent of the Internet, or is it just another channel for sanitised party messages?
Are we narrowing our information sources or are we listening to more opinions on the Internet? Is debate alive or are we all talking and blogging within our natural political base?
BECOMING A POLITICIAN
Has access to parties, and specifically access to becoming a candidate, changed because of the internet?
Has the demographic of voters changed in any way since the early 1990s? Have the age or income profiles of active voters changed? Are internet users more likely to vote than non-users?
Are political decisions at all levels made in a more distributed way? Does the internet allow people's opinions to filter into the process, or does it just act as a venting system, giving users a feeling of being part of the process without actually impacting it at all?
The Internet has the potential to increase the deliberative nature of our democracy by including a much greater range of voices in the national conversation, many of whom are not beholden to the same interests as the traditional participants in this conversation. Individuals from the general public need no longer mediate their voices through polls and anecdotal reporting, but can instead speak directly to one another.
If the success of the Internet in fostering our deliberative democracy is merely defined as an increased number of non-traditional participants in the conversation, then the Internet is certainly succeeding in this role. However, if success is defined as an improvement in the substantive content of the discussion and as an increased ability for the various participants to reach shared understandings of political issue, then it is less clear that the Internet has improved our deliberations.
The most widely read individual web sites are highly partisan weblogs that are closer to Rush Limbaugh or Michael Moore than to the ideal of thoughtful deliberation. The two most oft cited examples of the power of the Internet in our political process -- the downfall of Trent Lott and the fostering of the Dan Rather National Guard documents -- are both essentially scandals in the mode of traditional media. Internet users continue to gather on these demagogic sites to agree with the rhetoric of their own positions, rather than seeking sites that inform them about the substance of the issues or that expose them to alternative positions.
Is the Internet doomed merely to multiply Rush Limbaughs shouting into the nation's ear, or is there some role for the Internet to play in fostering thoughtful, distributed deliberation?
The elections in the US and around the world in the past year or two have, at least the so the story goes, brought a fresh round of young people into the political process. One of the common themes of this involvement has been the use of technology platforms, e-mail, SMS, blogs and other ICT-related tools to link people up and fuel their involvement. I want to know: "Are the new participants in the political process, who have been experimenting in with new technologies in campaigns of all sorts, going to continue to stay involved in civic life and are they (we?) prepared to lead and capable of so doing?"
To call it "technological determinism" reveals a bias in attitude about the impact of technology, namely that, to a high degree, the medium is the message. There is, of course, a strong element of truth there, even if only in the self-selection effects evident in the availability of broadband, by most estimates in the range of 20-30% of US households. Similarly, you could easily argue that rich media advertising impacts primarily that strata of society.
A stronger effect than the direct impact of the technology on the political process, though, is the impact of the information flows enabled by that technology on the process of political deliberation. The wide range of position statements, explanatory analysis, statistical studies, and informed commentary necessitates a filtering process by the information consumer that is fundamentally new. It has the potential to be quite polarizing, in that support for virtually any pre-conceived position is easy to find. It also, however, exposes technology users to an enormous range of fact, analysis and opinion, and -- one would hope -- is grist for the intellectual mill for those inclined to deliberation.
One oft-repeated reason that Internet users turn to the Internet for political information is the breadth and depth and sheer variety of information offerings. While the question of whether the Internet has changed campaigning behavior on the part of candidates seems pretty obvious, what isn't obvious is what their goals are, or should be. Some questions to consider would be:
From a candidate's perspective, should the goal of an Internet-based campaign be to retain and bolster existing supporters, combat and counter competitors' Internet efforts, convert opposing candidates' supporters to your cause, or inform and convince uncommitted voters? What do candidates and their Internet campaign managers see as the likely results of their Internet-based campaigning efforts?
From a voter's perspective, has information discovered or researched on the Internet changed your position?
From a voter's perspective, what makes a site helpful and informative? Alternatively, given that there is such a wide variety of opinion mixed in with facts on the Internet, how do you determine signal vs. noise?
Has anyone gathered any statistics about political site usage? How sticky are those sites? What are the metrics for average time at site, number of pages viewed, etc.?
What effect have candidate blogs had on political campaigns? What is the general perception by Internet users?
What do Internet-based surveys reveal about Internet usage demographics? Where comparable broad public polls co-exist with Internet polls, what is the variance in results? Are Internet users more conservative or more liberal than the public at large?
I'm working on analyzing the Dean campaign's blog and doing interviews with blog commenters to determine what the efficacy of operating blogs is in campaigns. I would like to see a roundtable discussion or a panel on blogs in campaigns in the upcoming conference (I would be willing to organize such a panel/workshop as well).
This along with other analysis of the Dean campaign is forming the basis of my dissertation on the Dean campaign. I was an embedded researcher for over 3 months at Burlington Headquarters and during that time got to observe and record all of the CMC technologies that the Dean campaign used. One could say that since Dean didn't win that the efficacy of the tools are called into question, but alas, the tools (though not the techniques) have been coopted by the other campaigns left in the race, so I do believe that a thorough analysis of the tools used is of benefit to future campaigns.
School of Information and Computer Science
University of California, Irvine
Irvine, CA 92697-3430
Assuming there is not, but wondering if there was any follow-up to the vote swapping websites in 2000. Did people actually vote the way they said they would?
Just TA'd a section on Electronic Voting last quarter and I posited this as one of the benefits of *NOT* having Internet voting or any "paper trail" evidence of the actual voting act.
It is secret, so there would be no primary evidence, but I was just wondering if there was any followup to suggest that people did actually vote the way they said they would.
One question to consider is "Does extensive use of the Internet marginalize political groups by facilitating communication among self-selected true believers?"
I would think that a comparative presentation using representative sampling from both the broadcast media and selected weblogs on the same topic could highlight this question nicely.
Seeing the web as just a tool for fundraising and organizing is the litmus test for those that just don't get the ability of the net for bottom up self organization. Howard Dean and others have talked about this very issue. That the quality of community and discourse stimulated by online political weblogs can be nothing short of revolutionary.
Borrowing from the theme of a fairly ancient Office of Naval Research Study on computers, called "Computers at Puberty" I would argue, as that report did for computers, that we tend to see the current generation of the Internet as the pinnacle of it's development, with maybe a few new bells and whistles to come but pretty much what we've got now is what we can expect for the future.
There is one other point regarding the introduction of new technologies which needs to be considered. Remember the buggywhip holders on the first cars, or using steam engines to pump water over the mill's water wheel, or painstakingly driling and nailing structural steel into exact replicas of older wooden structures...
The point I am making here is that yes the internet certainly is having some effects on the waging of political campaigns, but to date, I would argue, the effects are more of the buggywhip variety, bolting on interesting new possibilities to the existing arcane processes of politicking. A mere shadow of the potential soaring changes possible when we stop trying to fit the internet into existing practices and start leveraging and applying the new transformational metaphors of organization and governance suggested by internet characteristics such as self organizing mesh nets, active packets, and emergent behaviors.
I seriously doubt the ability of the current two party system to transform itself in this way, at most it would probably just cynically bolt on a few internet buggywhips such as some meet-ups here and a couple fundraising websites there, and otherwise carry on with business as usual. Instead I suggest it will probably take the emergence of a third, internet based, party to bring these potentials to fruition.
We talk a lot about the power of the web to mobilize voters and raise money. These activities are certainly one way to quantify political participation. But what about a more qualitative view of political participation that involves discourse, dialogue, and a shifting of perspective? Does political discourse actually happen online, or is the web more effective just a tool for rallying people whose minds have already been made up? Is its effect purely polarizing?
The long-term-ness is a dimension to this question that I almost never hear played out. Interesting point, but I'm not sure how a conference would be able to drive it forward. How would you envision the conversation? One angle is to examine the co-evolution: not only are the new leaders wired, they're building processes more condusive to wired lifestyles. And case studies of how these two meet in the middle? Compare that with case studies of young activists suffering from internet burnout?
An assumption this question implicitly makes is that other technologies and resources have not been able to authoratitively address the impact of political elections. Any discussion on this question should start with asking whether this assumption actually holds, and why.
The public may be vaguely aware of certain problems in the electoral system that have been highlighted by the press, but are they aware of security issues in electronic voting? Or with problems with the first-past-the-post system? Or with the problem of elections being decided within statistical uncertainties? And even if they are acquainted with the existence of these problems, do they understand how they might or might not affect the ability of the electoral system to represent social choice? Or even, and this is scarily important, if it even matters to the public?
After dealing with the above, it is then possible to ask whether the Internet technologies can help. This discussion can cover the influence of political blogs, online media, "urban legends" and mass hysteria in the blogosphere, online and constantly updating pollsters, and publically accessible records on the Internet, such as voting registration records and online and anonymous voter verification (i.e., did the government mark you down as having voted?). Can these things help, or do they harm?
Does the Internet provide ways for individuals to be more actively engaged in the substance of a campaign - framing issues, developing tactics, etc. - as opposed to simply being recipients of marketing messages and fund solicitations? If yes, does this make a difference in either the effectiveness of a campaign, and/or the overall effectiveness of the political enterprise?
Can (should) democracy as we know it survive the Internet?
Internet search engines are designed to find the best match to our queries. Does this lead interested individuals to web sites that reflect back to them their own political opinions? Television is a passive medium, the Internet is an active medium. Is the Internet its own worst enemy?
Ok, 2020 has a certain ring to it, should we see that year with great acuity? should it call forth a vision of the future? It is sixteen years from now. In 1988, sixteen years ago there was no web. Could we have predicted copyright extensions (ok, probably :-), could we have predicted a different Bush in the white house? Does this mean we'll have George Prescott Bush in 2020? Probably. I'll be living in Canada.
The afterworld of code is a place where the Patriot Act is in its tenth incarnation and instead of Fahrenheit 451 we're burning DVDs with permission from the government. You can run Linux only in your basement and in speak-easies.
Ok, I'm just feeling skeptical. The right code will prevail.
We can look at things qualitatively, but numbers are important too. A quick look at web/household statistics using Nielsen and other sources shows that roughly 50% of americans are online in 8/04, but that basically 95+% watch TV (97% of poor households have a color TV). The number of average hours/day online at home is about one hour/day, while for TV it's about 5 hours/day. Work changes that for online, but probably not by too much. So, discourse online? I doubt it. But as a way of mobilizing people who have made up their mind, but who aren't being active I think there's a real change taking place. At least my own personal anecdotal evidence is that moveon.org is rallying folks who would otherwise just tear their hair out. But is that real? Don't know. I'd like to think that rallying people whose minds are made up is a good thing, we need rallying in helping to rally others.
My view is that political groups and self-selected true believers are the same people. If the question is whether the internet reduces the power of political parties by empowering communication among extremists, my answer is no. As an example, I watched one of the presidential nominating conventions almost entirely on the internet, using the party's website. It provided uninterrupted coverage and no commentary. I loved it. The party (aka political group) was able to use the internet to reach people, despite television's decision not to cover much of the convention. And I think those of us who watch convention coverage like that could be described as "self-selected true believers."
The Wall Street Journal included biographies of bloggers who covered the Democratic and Republican conventions earlier this summer. Bloggers are, of course, not part of the mainstream news media. Blogs have the potential to bring more people and different people into political discourse. However, that didn't seem to be happening with regard to the conventions. The bloggers interviewed were mostly middle-class white males. They weren't all particularly young either. (N.B. I'm not claiming that the WSJ did a scientific survey of bloggers. This is an anecdotal observation.) I wondered why groups that are less well represented in politics did not take advantage of this opportunity. Maybe it's the political process itself, rather than the communication medium.
The USA and Tim Berners-Lee invited the internet. Today radical Islamists are releasing videos of beheaded hostages on the internet to take the lead in the mental war against terrorism. Why?
If democracy is defined as current political systems, structures, and institutions it may not survive the Internet. Is it bad news? Not necessarily. Don't we already get more "what the real story is" via blogs instead of established news channels broadcasting interviews of politically correct stakeholders? Is it not better to buy products looking at ratings of internet users in addition to corporate pitches? In short, by being a relatively cheap and easy to access medium, one could argue that the internet improves democracy by allowing a broader dialogue and giving more information and choices to individuals. Internet and democracy are not antinomic.
My question is: Can Internet technologies serve to provide the general public with authoritative resources to answer questions about the impact of political elections?
Few would argue that electronic voting protects the individual's right to vote. Yet, there continues to be a willingness to preserve the impression that the right to vote remains. What are the options when a country finds itself facing the reality that it no longer provides it citizens with the right to vote, inserting in its place, a ritual that is meaningless.
Today, as I checked headlines from around the world, one article referred to the controversy brewing in Mississippi, USA, where extremist white supremacists were pushing to have a booth at a public event. Whether it's a community, or the Internet, extremists demand the right to participate.
History tells us the Gutenburg Press empowered the People. Maybe the computer empowers the individual. Should we censor books, censor those who are on the Internet, is a good question, but maybe we have to give up too much freedom to do so.
Of all the interesting questions posed here, I'll focus on the first, "from a candidates perspective" question. I feel that this question gets to the heart of the technology+campaigns intersection.
First, its important to explicitly state that not all campaigns are the same. I did a campaign web site for Ben Lummis, a friend who recently won a seat on the Cambridge School Committee. This is an example of a small campaign. I also worked a bit on the Howard Dean - thats a large campaign. The internet strategies of each were very different.
Very few people had heard of ben, or had preconceived notions about him. Therefore, the goal of Ben's internet strategy was to inform and then convince voters that he was a comfortable, desirable candidate. Ben had a small team of colunteers, and didn't need to encourage them via his web site.
On the other hand, the Dean web site's greatest strength, IMO, was its ability to encourage the growth of the grassroots. It was by and for Dean fans. The community there made Dean fans bolder and prouder (just like Howard himself). I doubt many voters were swayed by the site. But as a rallying point for campaign employees and volunteers, it excelled. This site did not need to inform voters about Dean because the news media already does this to the satisfaction of most voters.
1) How has the impact of political polls on the electoral process changed with the growth of the Internet and other electronic media? Specifically:
- Does the "spinning" of polls in the blogosphere, on cable TV, and on talk radio impact voter turnout? If so, how?
- Does the standard model of telephone polling under-represent young people (who may have only cell phones or VoIP)? How does this affect voter turnout?
- What is the impact, if any, of unscientific, online "quick" polls, whose results show immediately and may also be reported on cable TV?
Second possible question:
2) The Internet makes it easy for people to read only political news and opinions that conform to their pre-exisiting points of view. Does this pre-selected coverage add to polarization of the electorate? Does it affect the possibility of achieving consensus on issues of national and global significance? What is its impact on the behavior of legislators and other policymakers?
Third possible question:
3) Will privacy concerns such as those raised by the USA Patriot Act put a damper on the lively political discourse characteristic of the blogosphere in particular and the Internet at large?
John, this is a great set of questions -- more than enough for an entire conference. The thrust of your questions gets at the notion that political reality as created (or recast) by the Internet differs for politicians, voters, and so-called unbiased observers. (I deliberately avoid the word "objective," because I reject the notion of a genuinely objective reality.)
Your questions implicitly recognize the profound changes the Internet has wrought in our civic universe. They challenge us to consider how various players perceive the changes, and how their perceptions affect behavior. To round out the picture, I would add questions about purposeful distortions of the Internet political universe, via tactics such as Google bombs, assumption of false online identities, or circulation of questionable urban myths. In addition, I believe we need to ask how privacy concerns affect online political behavior, especially now that government surveillance of online communications is becoming progressively easier.
I'm especially interested in your questions concerning demographics and polling. I believe that polling protocols and industry best practices have not kept pace with technology, nor with the behavior of voters and potential voters. Failure to account for factors such as cell phone use, Internet telephony, call screening, and the blurring of home life with work life make poll results increasingly suspect. Suspect poll results combined with increasingly partisan and self-selected news sources, the growth of pre-Election Day voting, and the use of untested electronic voting technologies are changing the political landscape in ways that are difficult to parse and to measure. The results of the coming election will undoubtedly provide us with clues. It would be exciting to have the opportunity to address them at the conference.
When we take the assesment tools of the Internet based Technologies; how can we assess the transformation in Democracy?
We;'internet users" are profiled and segmented according to our Internet usage Behavours; some sites have the capability to identify which political parties we support; what kind of books we read;; our specific research and development requirements and push content based on our assessed profiles. How would this be customized for political campaigns? What kind of information would be packaged and delivered to us so that we will make our informed decisions based on our interests?! Are IP Based technologies only relevant to internet and should we consider mobile telephony and Digital Tvs?
Secondly; what do we mean by preparedness; or should we question readiness instead?
If the incentives for involvement are clearly defined; the structural framework of operations will be defined accordingly and capacity may or may not be increased due to results.
are critical for national and international success that will establish peace and prosperity. Dont we all vote for peace and prosperity plus a rising standart of living? So monitoring is essential and tranparency is a requirment. What are the tools and methodologies that needs to be applied and standartized is my question?